EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Traffic at the Stanton and Sante Fe international bridges was temporarily halted on Wednesday afternoon as a “large group” reportedly assembled on the Mexican side of the border, according to CBP.
According to a CBP spokesman, 40 to 50 migrants from the interior of Mexico possibly organized a “mass migration attempt” into the U.S.
According to a tweet, the threat dissipated in about 15 minutes.
Traffic is now flowing on a “limited basis” with full processing expected to resume shortly.
Stay with KTSM.com for updates.
KTSM spoke to several of the migrants involved, who said they just wanted information and a chance to go across the bridge and ask for asylum in the United States because of the drug-related violence in their cities.
“We just wanted information to apply for asylum. We didn’t know where to go, so we went to the foot of the bridge,” said Mayra, a young mother of two from Zacatecas. “There were too many people there, so the soldiers came to ask what was going on, then the federal police came. They were upset and told us to leave… then the Americans closed the bridge.”
Mayra and a couple, also from Zacatecas, denied that the migrants tried to rush the bridge. “They (the Mexican police) were very nervous. They yelled at us. We weren’t doing anything. I don’t know what they thought we were doing.”
The three said they came to the border to seek asylum in the United States because of the drug-related violence in Central Mexico. They said that, having their children with them, they would never participate in a riot.
Andres, a migrant from Michoacan, said he, too, came to the bridge to get information on how to apply for asylum because he didn’t know where else to go.
“There is too much violence on the streets (in Michoacan). They’re hanging bodies from bridges, there’s shootouts on the streets. Even my daughter is afraid to go to school because there have been shootings near her school,” said Andres, who did not want to give his last name.
Enrique Valenzuela, director of the Chihuahua Population Council in Juarez, which runs the Migrant Assistance Center there, said the number of Mexicans from the interior arriving at the border to seek asylum in the United States has increased recently.
Unlike citizens from other countries, the Mexicans aren’t required to sign up on a waiting list for appointments, but they can’t just walk up the bridge any time of day, either.
”We encourage them to visit the Migrant Assistance Center and get information that may be useful to them,” he said.